Skip to comments.Beach Essentials in China: Flip-Flops, a Towel and a Ski Mask
Posted on 08/04/2012 5:45:30 PM PDT by nickcarraway
It was enough to make a trio of heavily tattooed young men stop their playful splashing and to prompt a small boy to run to his mother in alarm: a woman rising out of the choppy waves of the sea, her head wrapped in a neon-orange ski mask.
As she made her way toward the shore, more people stared. A man floating in a yellow inner tube nudged his female companion, who muttered the question many others must have been asking themselves: Why is she wearing that?
Im afraid of getting dark, said the mask-wearer, Yao Wenhua, 58, upon emerging from the seaweed-choked waters of this seaside city in Chinas eastern Shandong Province. Eager to show why she sacrificed fashion for function, Ms. Yao, a retired bus driver, peeled the nylon over her forehead to reveal a pale, unwrinkled face.
A woman should always have fair skin, she said proudly. Otherwise people will think youre a peasant.
For legions of middle-class Chinese women and for those who aspire to their ranks solar protection is practically a fetish, complete with its own gear. This booming industry caters to a culture that prizes a pallid complexion as a traditional sign of feminine beauty unscathed by the indignities of manual labor. There is even an idiom, which women young and old know by heart: Fair skin conceals a thousand flaws.
With the pursuit of that age-old aesthetic ideal at odds with the fast-growing interest in beachgoing and other outdoor activities, Chinese women have come up with a variety of ways to reconcile the two. Face masks like Ms. Yaos have taken this popular beach town by storm. In cities, the summertime parasol is a more familiar accouterment, many adorned with rhinestones, lace or sequins (and sometimes all three). Those who
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I can see past the mask...
Maybe foot binding will make a come back.
I was told by a woman I know (born and raised in China) that parents will even remove any sort of mole (via a needle). The skin of a girl/woman should be blemish free. The “lighter” the skin... the more beautiful (in their opinion).
This is common throughout Asian cultures. I have seen Japanese tourists wearing elbow length gloves topped by strange long canvas sleeves that seemed to tie on over their blouse, huge canvas beekeeper’s hats, complete with flaps covering the neck, and goggles.
And these were young women, probably university educated (since they had the money to travel). The Mysterious East indeed!
At rice planting and harvest times, some women in Southeast Asia cover themselves and wear large hats and gloves to avoid dark skin. I’ve always thought it must be uncomfortable.
Really dumb. Don’t they have sunscreen?
Hair dyed light brown / dark blond is almost as common as natural black hair.
Many Asians are super-conscious of protecting their skin, and like many “Anglos” of the Victorian era, and earlier, are still today as fond of “parasols” in the bright summer sun, as they are umbrellas in the rain.
Ski masks still appear to be taking that concern too far - “sun block” lotions are available, aren’t they??
What surprised me is that many Asian women have brown-black hair. I had always thought that the hair coloring was pure black. My littlest one has brownish-black. Maybe it will darken when she is older?
Perhaps they know something about Chinese-made lotions that we don't?
I don’t know. One of our nephews has brown / black hair and is in his twenties without it having darkened.
Just go at sunset.
“Perhaps they know something about Chinese-made lotions that we don’t?”
European, American and South Korean “lotions”, all very good, sell very well in China.
The ski masks result from how eccentric many Asians are about protecting their skin and a typical Asian preference of having/keeping the face-skin in “pristine” condition - a preference held to a degree not found among most Americans.
>>sun block lotions are available, arent they??<<
I am of Irish heritage and got that ultra-white Irish skin. I vacation in Mexico a lot and use the super-SPF sunblock for babies and a wide-brimmed hat.
After a few hours my face us as red as a tomato anyway (although the sunblock does work pretty well on my arms and legs).
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